Noah Lyles is in Zurich. This is a piece by Deji Ogeyingbo that he wanted up prior to the Weltklasse, happening today, August 31, this evening. You can view it on Peacock, from 1 pm Central time US, 12 noon eastern.
Noah Lyles still chasing Bolt Records after world championship conquests.
Zurich, Switzerland—As Noah Lyles walked into the press conference all clad in his blue tracksuit and sneakers, a baseball cap that says world champion, he held a glass of white wine and the usual smile coming off his face as he said over 20 hellos walking towards his seat in the presser. This is a man that feels on top of the world.
The Diamond League in Zurich feels special to him, having won the 200m thrice here and the 100m once. However, one must imagine the attention he’s getting just days after becoming the double world champion, a feat last achieved by the great Usain Bolt. Perhaps more telling was the buzz that came with his scathing remarks in Budapest in which he questioned why the NBA champions called themselves the world champions.
Sitting alongside Karsten Warholm and Mondo Duplantis, It was inevitable that a follow-up question was going to come up next, and he seemed prepared for it. “I have gotten a lot of messages and calls from the NBA players I am close to, not so much from the ones that went at me on social media.”
Noah Lyles, World Athletics Championships
August 19-27, 2023
It didn’t matter, really. Lyles is one of the few athletes on the circuit who sure knows how to wear his heart on his sleeve. Whether it means riling up people, the Florida-based sprinter doesn’t really care. The focus seems to be attacking Bolt’s world record, especially in the 200m.
“I kind of knew that day that I wasn’t going to hit the World Record. I knew it would be fast, I knew I would win, but I knew it wasn’t going to be the World Record. I had agreed with my coach (Lance Baumann) that the aim was to do the double at the World Championships in Budapest and come out with Gold. After that, I can now condition my body to have a go at the world record.”
Lyles knows if he’s in top shape, there will be no stopping him, but deep down, if he’s to match up to the popularity of Bolt, the world record needs to be threatened or potentially broken. How he would achieve it also matters. The right conditions matter.
“I got into Zurich yesterday (Tuesday), and as I was going out to stretch, I felt my body open up. It might be too early to call, but the popping up gives me the right mindset to approach the race tomorrow after the races took its toll on me in Budapest. Let’s see how it goes. It might just fall.”
Lyles can talk the talk, and so far, he’s been able to walk the walk. If he’s in the mood in Zurich, he might just take another step in attaining lofty heights that only Bolt reached. For himself and athletics.